Thursday, 22 October 2020 12:14

State Superintendent Letter

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At the request of many of our School Superintendents and Charter Directors, a school medical advisory group met and recommended adjustments to the 14 day quarantine.  The Utah Dept. of Health, under the direction of Governor Herbert, has approved the attached Low Risk Test and Return guidance.  The medical experts on the advisory group indicate that this aligns with the best medical practice of adjusting the intensity of intervention based on risk and consequences of overprescribing an intervention.  Key points aligned with this practice are:

  • Masks are effective at preventing transmission in classroom settings
  • This only applies to mask on mask exposure
  • Only applies to exposures that occurred in school
  • % of individuals who will develop symptoms do so on: 
    • Day 7 -75%, 
    • Day 9 - 90% 
    • Day 11- 95%
    • Testing picks up positive cases two days before symptoms onset; therefore, testing on day 7 means there is less than a 10% chance that an individual will contract after day 7
  • This is for individual exposures, and does not pertain to the threshold recommendations for classroom or school virtual learning

Your local health officers were instrumental in crafting and supporting this update and are ready and willing to assist. The Rapid tests (Abbot BinaxNOW) are still being distributed and your LHO will likely be the best source to know when and where the tests can be accessed.  The COVID-19 School Manual will be updated to reflect this change but the change takes effect immediately. 

We hope this updated guidance will both be an incentive for improved classroom mask wearing behaviors and expedite students getting back into school safely.

With appreciation for your leadership during this challenging time,

Sydnee Dickson, Ed.D.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
250 E. 500 S.
PO Box 144200
Salt Lake City, UT 84114-4200
(801) 538-7510 W

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